September 2006 Archives

Junior Brown at River Roots LiveIn part three of my River Roots Live trilogy, I present the September 22, 2006, performance of guitar hero Junior Brown. Junior was a bad boy, using an encore to go over his allotted 60 minutes. You might not be able to tell by listening, but Brown and his guitar did a mean train imitation when a locomotive threatened his set.

This recording is a little funky. Although a single file, the concert is in three distinct sections: the first song followed by a fade; the rest of the set followed by a fade again; and the encore. There is no good reason for this except that in my first attempt at bootlegging, I had a stupid notion about separating songs while recording. Basically, you lose a bit of the second song.

Alejandro Escovedo (right) at River Roots LiveMy recording of Alejandro Escovedo’s one-hour set at River Roots Live in Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday, September 23, 2006.

I changed a few settings for Saturday’s recording, and I think it sounds better. I’d love to get some feedback in the comments section of this entry and the Martin Sexton recording I posted yesterday. I’m trying to see if projects such as this are worth your and my time.

Martin Sexton at River Roots LivePretty self-explanatory: Martin Sexton’s one-hour set at River Roots Live in Davenport, Iowa, on Friday, September 22, 2006.

This is my first attempt at a live recording of a national act. The quality is mediocre, with too much crowd noise. If anybody wants to try to clean up the source file so I can post a higher-quality version here, please e-mail me or leave a note in the comments section.

Also, feel free to comment on whether it’s even worth my time to post these audio files. Is the quality good enough to merit downloading?

I’ll be changing a few things when I record Alejandro Escovedo tonight. We’ll see if it’s any better.

I also have Junior Brown’s set from Friday and will post it if anybody wants it. Please let me know in the comments section if you’d like to hear that, too.

  • How ignorant are you? Cinemarati recently asked its readers:
    “What’s your big, embarrassing, Never-Seen-It movie?”
    To help you out, you can use this tool to track your viewing history against the Internet Movie Database’s “top 250” list. (My list.) My guilty admission is that I’ve yet to see Renoir’s La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game) despite its reputation.
  • At Slate, rather than mocking people for movies they haven’t seen, Sam Anderson judges his friends by what they want to see. What does your Netflix queue say about you?

Alejandro EscovedoIt is in times of crisis that a person learns who his or her true friends are. Alejandro Escovedo discovered he has a lot of friends.

Even if you haven’t heard of Escovedo, you’ve likely heard of them: John Cale of the Velvet Underground, Los Lonely Boys, the Cowboy Junkies, Son Volt, Charlie Musselwhite, Lucinda Williams, Calexico, Steve Earle. Those people and more than two dozen others cut tracks for Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo. The goal wasn’t merely to honor the man, or just to offset some of his medical bills, but to perhaps save his life.

Cock Tale

Beyond the asparagusThe temptation when writing about Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story is to try something really clever.

You might, as Roger Ebert did, file a review that attempts to mimic the movie’s shambling way. (It’s a half-assed effort, basically consisting of the addition of the sentence “But I digress.”) Ebert accurately describes A Cock and Bull Story as “a film about the making of a film based on a novel about the writing of a novel.”

Oh, the concept is even less appealing than it sounds.

Demon Dog Dump

Woof! Woof!Today marks the release of Brian De Palma’s adaptation of The Black Dahlia, and I’m torn.

  • I love the work of James Ellroy — the crime writer on whose novel the movie is based.
  • De Palma does virtually nothing for me.
  • Ellroy has gotten more stylized, more sophisticated, and better over time, and 1987’s The Black Dahlia — the first book of his “L.A. Quartet” that closed with the fantastic L.A. Confidential and White Jazz — began a period of rapid growth. That’s a nice way of saying that the book is lesser Ellroy.
  • Yet Matt Zoller Seitz is persuasive about the movie’s charms.
  • And then Dana Stevens guts it.

That Darn Jew

A man in search of an audienceThe true subject of Albert Brooks’ Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is that fact that most people don’t find Albert Brooks funny.

That sounds sour, and it sells the movie short, but it’s fundamentally true. While The Aristocrats endlessly repeated a single dirty joke to expose the gears and springs of comedy, Brooks uses a single comedian — himself — to explore the often fragile bond between a performer and the audience. The issue: Why do some people laugh at a joke that leaves other people cold? Disguised as a narrative fiction, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is an essay on the nature of humor.

Plus: V for Vendetta.

The A-TeamWe aspire to erudition here at Culture Snob. Not today.

Our task: Re-cast The A-Team for a feature film and a new audience.

We’ll go the Miami Vice playing-it-straight route. No cheeky humor. No cameos.

Our dream cast is a little unhinged, and a lot dangerous. Being enlightened, our team is more racially balanced, and we’ve even added a girl. Sort of. He’s got the cheekbones, delicate features, sensuous mouth, and penetrating eyes of a beautiful woman, at least. Inevitably, he will play charmer Templeton “Faceman” Peck.

My attempt, with no attention paid to cost or feasibility, but with an eye toward each performer’s history, follows.

Mark StuartMark Stuart has only himself to blame. The name was his idea — even if he didn’t mean it to stick — and the stories associated with it are good ones.

But Stuart is considering hanging up Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash as a band name when he moves to Austin, Texas, from San Diego next year.

“I think now that he’s gone ... it means less,” Stuart said of Cash’s 2003 passing. “And I think there was a certain knee-jerk reaction to the name ... . [And] to be quite honest, I just get tired of answering questions about Johnny Cash.”